2024 Maggy Awards: Restaurants

Best New Restaurant

La Victoria Mexican Food

Best Food Truck
Buoy Bowls

Cousins Maine Lobster
Mr. A’s Beignets

Best Appetizers
Ruckus Pizza, Pasta & Spirits

Scratch Kitchen & Taproom
Hank’s Downtown Dive

Best Cocktail

The Walk Up
Dram & Draught

Best Bakery
La Farm Bakery

Once in a Blue Moon Bakery
Annelore’s German Bakery

Best Dessert
Asali Desserts and Café Read More

Once in a Blue Moon Bakery
Andia’s Ice Cream

Best Barbecue
City Barbeque

Big Mikes BBQ
Danny’s Bar-B-Que

Best Breakfast
Brigs Read More

First Watch
Eggs Up Grill

Best Burger
Abbey Road Tavern & Grill Read More

Corbett’s Burgers & Soda Bar
Bad Daddy’s Burger Bar

Best Date-Night Restaurant
Tie: Hank’s Downtown Dive & Rey’s Restaurant

MC Modern Asian Cuisine
Chef’s Palette

Best Caterer
Catering Works

Catering by Design
Daniel’s Restaurant & Catering

Best Coffee House
Esteamed Coffee

Crema Coffee Roaster & Bakery
Fount Coffee + Kitchen

Best Seafood
Full Moon Oyster Bar

Skipper’s Seafood & Smokehouse
Cary Crab House

Best Steakhouse
Rey’s Restaurant Read More

Angus Barn
Ruth’s Chris

Best Pizzeria
Di Fara Pizza Tavern

Ruckus Pizza, Pasta & Spirits
V Pizza

Most Kid-Friendly Restaurant
Ruckus Pizza, Pasta & Spirits

Mellow Mushroom

Best Mediterranean Restaurant


Best Italian Restaurant
Lugano Ristorante

Daniel’s Restaurant & Catering
Enrigo Italian Bistro

Best Indian Restaurant
Cilantro Indian Café Read More

Kababish Cafe
Saffron Indian Cuisine

Best Mexican/Latin American Restaurant
a’Verde Cocina + Tequila Library

La Victoria Mexican Food
Gonza Tacos y Tequila

Best for Specialty Diets
Vegan Community Kitchen


Best Healthy-Dining Option

Clean Eatz

Best Sports Bar
Woody’s Sports Tavern & Grill

Ruckus Pizza, Pasta & Spirits
Carolina Ale House

Best Neighborhood Bar
Bottle Theory

Ruckus Pizza, Pasta & Spirits
Doherty’s Irish Pub & Restaurant

Best Outdoor Dining
Ruckus Pizza, Pasta & Spirits

Tazza Kitchen
Craft Public House

Best Brewery
Bond Brothers Beer Company

Fortnight Brewing Company
KoMANA Brewing Company

Asali Desserts and Café

Best Dessert

Hanadi Asad and Jamaal Ali, Asali Desserts and Café

Every item on Asali’s menu is someone’s favorite! While mine is the cheese pie, many customers are particularly taken by the rich flavors of the baklava cheesecake.

Whether you have a sweet tooth or savor the savory, Asali Desserts and Café is a cheerfully elegant bake shop serving authentic Mediterranean flavors, sweet treats, and unique recipes passed down through generations that are certain to delight.

The one-of-a-kind desserts and savory bites are inspired by owner Hanadi Asad’s Palestinian heritage. When brainstorming a name for their venture, Hanadi and her husband, Jamaal Ali, combined their last names. They fortuitously discovered that “Asali” means “sweets” and “honey” in both Arabic and Persian. Taking it as a sign of good luck, they founded Asali Desserts in 2001.

Complemented by local coffee and teas, Asali’s pretty dessert domes feature unique flavor combinations — like Royal Raspberry and Pecan Caramel Cheesecake — that never fail to impress. And who could resist the temptation of the kenafa cheese pull? This irresistible treat keeps bringing people back for more — so you’ll likely run into repeat customers when you stop into Asali for something delicious.

“We were overjoyed upon discovering that we had won the Maggy Award for Best Dessert,” said Asad. “Being recognized by a distinguished local magazine like Cary Magazine is a true honor.”



Best Breakfast

“It takes everybody,” Brigs Restaurants co-founder David Brigham said about the Triangle’s favorite breakfast, lunch, and dinner restaurant chain. In business since 1988, David and his wife, Susan, started Brigs with “literal blood, sweat, and tears.” Today, they recognize that the restaurant’s — now restaurants’ — sustained success is due to every team member upholding its reputation.

From hosts to servers, dishwashers to chefs, and with loyal employees becoming managers and then owners themselves, Brigs’ shared commitment to quality, creativity, and consistency takes some beating (egg pun intended).

Quality ingredients — like real Alaskan snow crab over canned, and butter instead of margarine — mean that the wide array of menu items, guided by Brigham’s “This is what I would want served” philosophy, have the best possible start. And when you’re using 29 tons of bacon every year, ingredients matter!

With popular monthly benedicts, griddles, and avocado toasts, in addition to weekly omelets and seasonal offerings — along with a regular menu so full, it makes deciding difficult — there’s a reason Brigs has been serving breakfast, all day, for over three decades!

More than 200 awards support Brigs’ signature consistency. “It doesn’t matter if every other plate was perfect today,” Brigham explained. “Somebody stood in line for an hour for that plate in front of them — that’s the only plate that counts.”


Abbey Road

Best Burger

“People come for the burgers, but they stay for the atmosphere,” said Jess Sullivan, regional manager of Abbey Road Tavern and Grill. With all burgers hand-pattied and grilled to order, Sullivan acknowledged what diners have already discovered: Burgers are “what we do best!”

Regular events, holiday gatherings, and an annual outdoor summer concert series mean there is, as Sullivan put it, “always something going on at Abbey.” Karaoke and open mic nights, team trivia throughout the week, and live music on Fridays — plus all the sports packages available on TV — make for endless entertainment. Add a pool table, pinball, award-winning food, and great drink specials, and Abbey Road is, as Sullivan said, “just the perfect rock ’n’ roll neighborhood hangout.”

From daily drink specials — think Truly Twisted Tuesdays’ $3.25 Twisted Teas and Truly Seltzers — to a musically inspired menu, from the Helter Skelter Wrap to the Yellow Submarine, Abbey Road has quite the playlist.

But the main act is their World-Famous Beatle Burgers. Ringo’s notes are onions and mushrooms, American and Swiss cheeses. BBQ sauce, grilled onions, and American cheese ensure Yoko won’t be outsung. But it’s George’s timeless American cheese and bacon that “never gets old,” Sullivan said. “We pride ourselves on our world-famous burgers.” Winning Best Burger makes Sullivan, and everyone at Abbey Road, “pretty excited!”


Cilantro Indian Café

Best Indian Restaurant

“It seems almost impossible to express our feelings in words,” said Cilantro Indian Café’s founder Tabassum Rahman about the Maggy Award win, “so we try to express them through our food.” For loyal diners, those feelings are mutual!

“We want our guests to stop by without a second thought when the craving hits,” Rahman shared — to eat a Chicken Tikka Masala just as fast and casually as they would a slice of pizza on a NYC street.

Which is why Cilantro simplifies the dining experience by serving complete meals with rice, Roghani naan, salad, and their cilantro chutney. “We do our best to bring customers the Bihari meals we have been eating at home for years,” Rahman said about their fresh, spicy “comfort food.”

Butter Chicken and Saag Paneer are popular, but for those just starting their Indian food journey, Rahman recommends the Bihari Coconut Curry or Moroccan Hummus. For Indian cuisine veterans, there’s the spicy Karahi. If you’re willing to use a few napkins, there’s Tandoori Chicken or Ammi’s Chicken Ka Salan. And whether novice or experienced, the Samosa Chat is a must-taste!

“Coming from a background where specialty diet and food allergies are of critical importance, we strive to meet the special dietary needs of our guests without compromising flavor and freshness,” Rahman said. “We feel humbled and blessed.”


Rey’s Restaurant

Best Steakhouse

Now in its 20th year, people keep coming back to Rey’s Restaurant — making the original vision of owner A. Rey Arias a delectable reality. Yet, as one diner acknowledged, people don’t just come back to Rey’s; they come “home.”

With a father-and-son team making guests feel welcome and a chef who has worked with Arias for 27 years and “deserves a lot of credit” for the steakhouse’s success, a family feel pervades.

Inspired by a New Orleans steakhouse, and although 70 percent of Rey’s sales come from steaks — their proverbial bread and butter — the menu is impressively diverse. NOLA is luscious in dishes like New Orleans Turtle Soup and Grouper Lafayette, but there’s also a notable array of greens, proteins, and vegetarian offerings. (And don’t overlook the desserts!)

Although it remains “all about steaks,” Arias said, a staff that’s “second to none” ensures his original vision is imbued in every meal shared.

With dinner nightly in the main dining room, private dining rooms for special events, and a very vibey Voodoo Lounge that offers both a full bar and dining menu and music on the weekends, Rey’s has something for everyone.

And it’s not just the award that Arias is honored to receive — it’s that it comes from the “popular demand of all our guests and readers.”


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